Report and Reaction: Takaoka the Whitecaps hero at keepers stand tall in BC Place stalemate

Report and Reaction: Takaoka the Whitecaps hero at keepers stand tall in BC Place stalemate

It was a night for both goalkeepers to stand tall at BC Place on Saturday evening, with both producing some key saves and leaving with clean sheets as Vancouver Whitecaps and Colorado Rapids battled it out to a 0-0 draw in MLS action, extending the two teams; unbeaten streaks in the process.

Vancouver’s Yohei Takaoka brilliantly saved Diego Rubio’s 79th minute penalty to preserve the point, while Colorado’s William Yarbrough had five saves on the night, with a couple of spectacular ones in the process, to almost single handedly deny the ‘Caps who had 21 shots, but could only manage five of them on target.

Depending on your glass half empty, glass half full approach to life will determine how you view the Whitecaps and Rapids extended unbeaten run. The ‘Caps are now unbeaten in seven and have not conceded a goal in 410 MLS minutes, but only two of those matches have produced wins. Colorado are in a similar boat, with just one win in their six match unbeaten run. It enough to keep Vancouver’s heads just above the playoff line and Colorado’s below it, but these one point matches need to be turned into three point ones if they are to make a proper push for the postseason.

With everyone fit and at his disposal apart from Sergio Cordova, it was a nice position for Vanni Sartini to be in going into this game, especially coming off a week of rest as well. He made one change from the team that drew in Austin, with Pedro Vite coming back into the line-up for Simon Becher, allowing Brian White to move back up top in the lone striker role in a 4-3-2-1 formation.

And it was a lively start for the Whitecaps, who took the game to their visitors forcing a couple of early corners.

It was the Rapids who had the best of the early chances to open the scoring in the 17th minute, with Takaoka saving a shot from Keegan Roseberry and then Tristan Blackmon coming up with a big block to stop a shot on the rebound.

The Whitecaps responded immediately with a chance of their own as Yarbrough came up with a superb stop to deny White.

The ‘Caps were enjoying the better of the play and Julian Gressel sent a dangerous ball to the back post that was just too far ahead for Vite running in.

Neither team could find the breakthrough, with the Whitecaps doing the majority of the pressing and the Rapids happy to show their rugged defensive play to keep them at bay.

The Whitecaps started the second half much like the first, with Yarbrough producing another good save to keep out a Javain Brown shot just over two minutes after the restart.

Brown had another chance two minutes later, rising well to meet a pinpoint Gressel corner but directing his header narrowly past the right post.

Danny Wilson had the ball in the net for Colorado in the 56th minute, but referee Tori Penso had quickly blown it off for a foul by Lalas Abubakar on Takaoka.

Ali Ahmed was next to be denied by Yarbrough in the 65th minute, with the Colorado keeper smothering the danger, and two minutes later he came up with an even more impressive stop, tipping over a fierce dipping Luis Martins effort.

White had a chance in the 71st minute as the ball came to him at the back of the six yard box, but Yarbrough was there again to deny the Whitecaps.

While the Whitecaps were dominating possession and the shot count, their last of execution in front of goal again proved to be a concern and it nearly turned into a nightmare for them when the Rapids were awarded a penalty in the 78th minute when Jonathan Lewis got the better of Brown on the byeline and the Jamaican clumsily brought him down in the box.

Up stepped Rubio, only to be denied by Takaoka, who dived to his left to save the kick and keep the teams all tied up.

With very little of note to round off the rest of the game, the Whitecaps had to settle for dropping two points at home. It could have been worse, but it should have been better. The positiveness of the defensive displays is offset by the lack of clinical finishing in front of goal at the end other. Back to back 0-0 draws maybe isn’t going to draw the fans through the gates in their hordes, it was another poor attendance on a glorious night for watching football, but it does at least get them a point on the board and keeps them in the playoff picture.

It’s a perilously hanging picture, though and with Minnesota United coming to town next week, they have to make sure they bang the nail in a little bit further and the ball into the back of the net.

FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 0 – 0 Colorado Rapids

ATT: 14,103

Possession: VAN 61.6% – COL 38.4%
Shots: VAN 21 – COL 7
Shots on Goal: VAN 5 – COL 2
Saves: VAN 2 – COL 5
Fouls: VAN 11 – COL 9
Offsides: VAN 1 – COL 0
Corners: VAN 13 – COL 1

VANCOUVER: Yohei Takaoka; Javain Brown, Ranko Veselinović, Tristan Blackmon, Luís Martins (Ryan Raposo 82); Julian Gressel, Andrés Cubas, Ali Ahmed (Simon Becher 70); Pedro Vite (Déiber Caicedo 82), Ryan Gauld; Brian White [Substitutes not used: Thomas Hasal, Mathías Laborda, Alessandro Schöpf, Karifa Yao, Sebastian Berhalter, Russell Teibert]

COLORADO: William Yarbrough; Lalas Abubakar, Andreas Maxsø, Danny Wilson; Keegan Rosenberry, Connor Ronan, Sam Nicholson (Jonathan Lewis 46), Steven Beitashour (Anthony Markanich 55); Max (Ralph Priso-Mbongue 89), Diego Rubio (Danny Leyva 89); Michael Barrios (Darren Yapi 70) [Substitutes not used: Marko Ilić, Sebastian Anderson, Michael Edwards, Kévin Cabral]




On the match

“I would say there’s a lot of thoughts, because I think you’re totally right. I think we were the best team, the team that attacked more. We had a lot of chances. But then at the end they had a very big chance with the penalty. So I told the guys to not put their head down, every point counts and if we keep playing like this we will win a lot of games. Unfortunately today I think [William] Yarbrough made three fantastic saves. The last one in the last minutes, I don’t understand how it didn’t go in. I think we had at least six, seven chances clear, and we didn’t score. We need to be better in the final third, not even in the final third because we’ve been good in the final third. We need to be better at capitalizing the chances, it’s been a little bit of the music this season. But it’s better this music than the music of not even having the chances. We need to focus maybe on the last chord of the music. Performance wise I think I’m satisfied, I’m happy.”

On drawing at home:

“I’m a little bit concerned on the draws here. When we draw in Austin, when we draw in Los Angeles, it’s okay. In this league, going away and taking a point it’s a good thing. So in order to be sure to be in the playoffs to be like fifth, sixth place, we need to do two points average here at home and one point away. So in this way we have [at least] 51 points and we are like fifth or sixth place. Okay, we’re a little bit behind at home because we had eight points in five games. If we win next game it’s 11 in six so we’re almost en route. We need to score goals. We played 10 games now and we’ve conceded only seven goals and the first four were in the two games. So in the last seven games we conceded three goals. And it’s not because we defend, it’s because we attack much more than the other team. We need just to capitalize more chances and we’ll start from Minnesota.”


On his penalty save:

“That penalty save, I watched the player to see which side he kicks. I checked on the wrist, Youssef [Dahha] he gave me information, which is why I can make the save.”

On the shutout streak:

“I’m really happy about that. But I’m not defending. Everyone is working hard, so that’s why I can make the clean sheet, so I want to say thank you to all of [my teammates].”


On the match:

“It’s another shutout for us, that’s the biggest thing. You have a bunch of individual performances that come together and obviously that translates to the clean sheet. So it’s not just me, it’s the backline, everybody plays a part. Obviously there is stuff to work on individually, but I’m happy with the performance and looking forward to getting more games with the break that we had.”

On maintaining focus against Colorado:

“I think we did a good job, throughout the games earlier this year we might have let things get away from us. I think we’re showing maturity in that aspect. Kudos to the guys being focused and locked in and trying to be locked in every single moment of the game. I think we did a pretty good job of that tonight.”



On the match:

“I was really proud of the effort of the group. Vancouver asked a lot of interesting questions in the way they play. I thought our guys adapted quite well and really fought, and big thing on the road is you want to make sure you give yourself a chance to win games. I thought through the work rate that we did, we gave ourselves a good chance. So, in the end, tie on the road is not the worst thing but we’re disappointed because we thought we did enough to win the game.”

On William Yarbrough’s leadership:

“That’s the exact comment. What does that exude to people around them. Center backs and goalkeepers have to be calm because when all hell breaks loose, they freak out then the rest of the team can freak out. If they are calm, it helps keep the team calm. Since Will’s [Yarbrough] gotten here, he has proven himself to be an absolute class goalkeeper and class teammate. He’s as important in the locker room as he is on the field. And he’s in a tremendous run of form at the moment. And you see the saves, and you see the saves he’s made all year, and I think it’s a pretty astute question to ask about not him as a goalkeeper, but about him as a leader. And what he has done since he has been here has been nothing short of sensational in terms of how he is in the locker room and how he is on the pitch.”


On the match:

“Tough game. I mean, Vancouver’s coming from a streak of six games unbeaten. We knew it was going to be tough—the conditions of the field, turf. We knew we were in for a challenge. And it goes to show you that we’re on the right path when you come out of this game. You know, it’s a little bit of a bitter feeling, thinking that you should have come away with three points. Point on the road isn’t bad. We’re still adding up points. We wanted three, but playing away from home, taking a point, I’m happy with it. But like I said, it shows you that we’re on the right track when you’re not content completely with not getting the three points when you know you had a chance to.”

On setting a new club record for most clean sheets all-time:

“Thanks for your comment, but it’s not something that’s in the back of my mind or was. You have to give credit to every player that plays for those clean sheets. It’s credit to the players who aren’t here and contributed to those clean sheets, to the players who are here now. And like you saw today, I mean, guys diving headfirst into balls, tackles, 50/50 balls, winning them, and you guys have to give credit to the entire team and also the players who contributed to these clean sheets who aren’t here anymore, because it’s a team effort. A clean sheet is 100 percent a team effort. Although I do immensely appreciate your comment, I think we have to give credit to the team as a whole for this new record.”

Authored by: Michael McColl

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